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Old 20th May 2011, 14:09   #1
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Default Returning to India

After a few years of working in Europe, I decided to return to India earlier this year. While there was no definitive 'Swades' type moment, the urge to return home only grew stronger due to various reasons over time.

After making the decision and implementing it I am facing a few teething issues here after my return. I do understand that I have spent a majority of my life here and before I get lynched for starting a rant; let me clarify this is not one.
The typical issues showcased in films such as water/ pollution/ bad roads etc are not a concern for me in any way. I knew of these before I decided to return.
I am trying to get solutions (or at least workarounds) to some unpleasant behavioural issues that pop up too regularly for my liking and appreciate any advice that you could provide

- Rudeness/ boorishness/ arrogance
Any person on the street has an attitude about him/ her. The smiles seem to have disappeared only to replaced by a permanent frown/ scowl. Is this mroe due to the inflation or the rat race? I have tried smiling and interacting with people but it doesnt seem like it helps. Whatever happened to people interacting with each other? It seems like I will be restricted to talking to people I know. Do strangers not talk these days? Maybe I need a trip on good old Indian rail to verify for myself.

- Tardiness/ lack of punctuality
I can understand people getting caught in traffic, but of late I am beginning to feel that people dont seem to care any less. Or even if they have any respect for the time/ schedule of the person they are supposed to meet. Has this become an extension of the 'chalta hai' attitude? How can I stop people selling me up the river?

- Service/ support issues
Recently I had an issue with my air cooler and the servicing mechanics just refused to come over to repair it depsite numerous appointments/ assurances. For another issue, an electrician grudgingly came over and then promptly overcharged me (though not explicitly mentioning it). Whatever happened to the good old respect for earning through hard work? How can I stop people from overcharging me and do I have to verify with 5 quotes from different people before finalising whom to get work done from?

- Traffic urgency
Everyone seems to be in a rush to get to wherever they are going. If they are so late everyday, it would perhaps be a bit better to leave early. I presume that people are not estimating their commute times in an efficent manner or that they are so impatient that they want to overtake eveyr vehicle they see.

Perhaps these issues have been existent for quite some time now, but it seems more magnified to me as I have not seen the gradual increase over the years.
As an example, I remember eating a dosa in an Udupi restaurant for 25 bucks not so long ago. On my return the same dosa is for around 50 bucks. Here I can attribute the price increase to inflation, but what do I attribute the behavioural changes to? More importantly, how do I adapt to dealing with them? I hope the word 'ignore' is not a part of the response
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:27   #2
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Default Re: Returning to India

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 20th May 2011 at 14:41. Reason: Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread.
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:38   #3
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Default Re: Returning to India

I completely understand this phase in your life where you are trying to adjust to a totally new environment. I have faced it myself on my return from the USA. One thing that strikes you in the USA is how people acknowledge another person's presence. e.g. whilst walking through the office main door the person infront of you will always hold the door open for you, which calls for a thank you, ofcourse. People will always acknowledge your presence in a lift, queue etc. Drivers will not try to run you over even if are wrong, although you are expected to follow pedestrian rules. I am not saying that they are a better species, even they have the same struggles & frustrations of everyday living that we have, but they choose to behave in a humanly fashion no matter what.
Yes, we miss the general etiquette of being nice in India. You do rarely come across people who behave friendly, but that ratio is very small. Also, most are not comfortable being treated well or being nice to, e.g. I stop for a person trying to cross the road & instead I get a frown more often than a nod or smile. Instead if that same person has been tried to run over he will not find it abnormal :o)
There is no immediate solution to this, all you can do is keep your cool & not try to behave in the same manner you are being treated, it wouldn't make you any different than the rest.

Last edited by mb_jg : 20th May 2011 at 14:40.
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:40   #4
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Default Re: Returning to India

Is the glass half full or half empty, Self Drive? Every place has its pros & cons. Why not look at the positive side too?

- Cost of living : I can get a quick meal (2 idlis & a coffee) for 25 - 30 rupees in India. Good luck finding a snack for 1/2 a Euro in Europe. I can even eat a full meal for <100 bucks.

- Friends & family : Priceless! Since you are an Indian, I presume most of your family (and close friends) are from India.

- $$$ Opportunities : Career opportunities today, whether for the entrepreneur or the corporate types, are extremely strong...especially if you have a good education.

- You aren't branded an "Alien" (as the USA does all foreigners) and hey, you can vote too!

- Our festivals, history, cultures, religions and more.

- The weather! Give me a hot summer over the unbearable winters any which day (hated the cold of Boston).

- Healthcare is cheaper.

I'm not trying to make this a pro India versus anti India debate. But there are just some things you are going to have to learn to deal with.

To me, home is home. However good the 5 star hotel I've lived in, after a couple of days, I want to return home

Last edited by GTO : 21st May 2011 at 10:20.
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:52   #5
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Default Re: Returning to India

Yep, there is no denying the good part of India. I cannot imagine missing out cutting chai & a Marlboro during the rains....which is just around the corner.
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:52   #6
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Default Re: Returning to India

@selfdrive: Any relocation is always traumatic. Believe me, these issues you have listed are very real. But what makes it worse is that you have certain expectations in your mind which the reality is not measuring up to. That is the cause of the dissonance.

India grows on you. With the exception of traffic urgency, which I have come to accept as an evil that will not go away soon, you will get used to every other thing in your list given time and an open attitude. We did!

If I may suggest it, try attending a Team BHP meet in your city. Hey you're in Pune- we have quite a decent "offline" presence here! Believe me when you meet and interact with 'strangers' who, you will realise, share more than a few things in common with you, youare bound to feel a whole lot better!
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:07   #7
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Default Re: Returning to India

Extremely valid concerns Selfdrive. And I like the way you're trying to deal with this in a logical way. Unfortunately, most of the quirks/irritants you've described are personality traits, and are'nt going to change overnight. Hopefully with time, you will have a list of trusted electricians, plumbers, assorted handymen, ofcourse that will come with a lot of trial and error. Also, with time, people who deal with you regularly will understand that you stick to the committed time, and will change their working style. If not, you'll understand their working style and change yours accordingly.

Welcome to India!!!
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:11   #8
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Default Re: Returning to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Is the glass half full or half empty, Self Drive? Every place has its pros & cons. Why not look at the positive side too?
+1, Exactly my point GTO; I appreciate all the points you listed and I can also come up with - school education; interaction between children; full days + warm evenings through the year (better outdoor opportunities); values instilled by our elders; competition that keeps us on our feet; I could go on and on! Which is exactly why I returned home in the first place The point I dont get is why our own people have become so insensitive compared to a few years ago. Perhaps I am stuck in a time warp and dont want to be that insensitive. In this case, I will prefer to live in my own bubble and stop caring what people think about me behaving this way - sorry if I am sounding stubborn or obstinate. Just that I learnt a few good things from my grannies that I would like to pass on to my kids too. I dont want them to learn from experience of outsiders; better they learn from my example.

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
If I may suggest it, try attending a Team BHP meet in your city. Hey you're in Pune- we have quite a decent "offline" presence here! Believe me when you meet and interact with 'strangers' who, you will realise, share more than a few things in common with you, you are bound to feel a whole lot better!
Sure, I am certain this will be more helpful. I guess my irritation is also exaggerated by the fact that most of my friends are forever traveling or moving around (same complaint that they had about me till a few weeks ago)

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Originally Posted by mb_jg View Post
There is no immediate solution to this, all you can do is keep your cool & not try to behave in the same manner you are being treated, it wouldn't make you any different than the rest.
+1 to that, I think it makes sense to ignore the rudeness and tardiness. Also, I need to understand that any sense of humour I may have (by commenting on this behaviour) is not understood by these guys. I should perhaps try to be either more direct or discreet. Also, I think sometimes silence and a stern demeanour helps to get things done here.

In fact this brings me to my next question - where is our sense of humour? Or have we had too many scams lately?!
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:25   #9
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
In fact this brings me to my next question - where is our sense of humour? Or have we had too many scams lately?!
LOL.This is the crust of all ice-breakers, unfortunately it is not too well received by general public. At times I feel like admitting myself to mental care because of the crude stares I get I have however stopped behaving in that fashion for some time now!
Dude, this is a bottomless debate. Welcome to India, we at TeamBHP will try to make your stay better.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:25   #10
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Default Re: Returning to India

Spot on!
Attitude - Having been through this phase a while ago, I've adopted the policy of 'Live and Let Live'.

Punctuality - No solution. The equation who needs who more decides who is the waiting party.

Traffic - Need I say more? There are enough threads on this portal

Service - I believe it is asking too much to expect service levels at par with more developed nations. However common courtesies like offering a glass of water/cup of tea some small talk and more importantly treating showing some degree of empathy towards their hardships definitely helps.

Since the decision to return back is taken with other intangible benefits, it's best to focus on recurring postives than the one-off negative experience.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:35   #11
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Selfdrive, i fully agree with you and i understand that you are not complaining or seeing only negative....these are just the things which makes you uncomfortable after returning from Europe. I would just say "Welcome Back"!....we are having same "Welcome Back" moments on every traffic light, every corner/turn, on every appointment which was not kept by, since last year Oct....after returning india.

these things will make you stronger, more adapt to harsh realities. in europe we were living santisized life, like in ICU, on life support system. but that wasn't life. Here you are feeling pain everyday, going through ordeal on every corner so, you will live more. we are not on life support system anymore. it will make us learn more, make us strong and more humen being.(if it doesn't kill you).

so, welcome back...we have learned some good things there, we just keep them with us and try not loose them here.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:40   #12
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Default Re: Returning to India

@Selfdrive.

Most of us here had our stint living outside the country. I for one returned back to live with my family. For me it was the highest priority. I accepted my country as a growing one and appreciated the changes.

Quote:
@The smiles seem to have disappeared only to replaced by a permanent frown/ scowl
The smiles are still there. The expectation to fake a smile on seeing someone on the road was never there. The genuine smiles/happiness will never leave this happy nation. We are far happier than many other countries.


Quote:
Tardiness/ lack of punctuality
we were never the puctual set of people. But we are the most hardworking. Understanding the zone is very important. My friend who lived in Bombay for 6 years found it difficult for the first few weeks to adjust to chennai way of working. We start late and we finish late.

Quote:
Service/ support issues
These days the service and support skills are getting Niche. Everyone wants the IT fast earning life and skills from carpentary to welding is becoming a niche skills. Your incident could be isolated but most of these skilled labours are not as bad as it sounds here.

Even the educated few lack the common sense to follow rules or just keep ones city clean. But a majority have started to consciously take some effort to follow rules and lead a life with harmony.

You just to see the country as improving one and not as a developed one. May be that will help.
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Old 20th May 2011, 17:01   #13
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Default Re: Returning to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Rudeness/ boorishness/ arrogance
Any person on the street has an attitude about him/ her. The smiles seem to have disappeared only to replaced by a permanent frown/ scowl. Is this mroe due to the inflation or the rat race? I have tried smiling and interacting with people but it doesnt seem like it helps. Whatever happened to people interacting with each other? It seems like I will be restricted to talking to people I know. Do strangers not talk these days? Maybe I need a trip on good old Indian rail to verify for myself.
Yes. the interaction is taken away by the gadgets. iPod, phones etc... people prefer to listen to "music" than "talk". And surprising is, they love to talk on phone than in person :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Tardiness/ lack of punctuality
I can understand people getting caught in traffic, but of late I am beginning to feel that people dont seem to care any less. Or even if they have any respect for the time/ schedule of the person they are supposed to meet. Has this become an extension of the 'chalta hai' attitude? How can I stop people selling me up the river?
exactly. they always assume the other person is gonna make it late, so he adds a late buffer. Without knowing that the other person also adds such buffer. And finally, its only cumulative. Never make it on time.!

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Service/ support issues
Recently I had an issue with my air cooler and the servicing mechanics just refused to come over to repair it depsite numerous appointments/ assurances. For another issue, an electrician grudgingly came over and then promptly overcharged me (though not explicitly mentioning it). Whatever happened to the good old respect for earning through hard work? How can I stop people from overcharging me and do I have to verify with 5 quotes from different people before finalising whom to get work done from?
What said hard work pays? Its all replaced with smart work. You define "smart" in whichever way you like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Traffic urgency
Everyone seems to be in a rush to get to wherever they are going. If they are so late everyday, it would perhaps be a bit better to leave early. I presume that people are not estimating their commute times in an efficent manner or that they are so impatient that they want to overtake eveyr vehicle they see.
Blame it on late night channels?? Or parties? chat??

But yes, seeing GTOs response, we have so many +ves. Probably thank your star for that
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Old 20th May 2011, 17:12   #14
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You just to see the country as improving one and not as a developed one. May be that will help.
VW2010, I am not comparing apples with oranges (India with other countries). All I am trying to do is to look for India 2007 in India 2011. India was as much a developing country then as it is now (not that I am even discussing infrastructure, just basic manners). If anything it should be further ahead on the same path. 4 years is not long enough to be considered a generation gap. And if we say we are evolving, then maybe we are not headed in the right direction.

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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
exactly. they always assume the other person is gonna make it late, so he adds a late buffer. Without knowing that the other person also adds such buffer. And finally, its only cumulative. Never make it on time.!
But I am waiting at home for him at 10am, why would I be late?! And if he plans to cancel on me, it only takes a text message or a call. Heck, at least he should have told me when I called him twice. Is it upto me to assume he wont turn up? It seems like they have too much business than they can do or they are plain lazy

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But yes, seeing GTOs response, we have so many +ves. Probably thank your star for that
That I most certainly do!
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Old 20th May 2011, 17:38   #15
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Default Re: Returning to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post

These days the service and support skills are getting Niche. Everyone wants the IT fast earning life and skills from carpentary to welding is becoming a niche skills. Your incident could be isolated but most of these skilled labours are not as bad as it sounds here.

You just to see the country as improving one and not as a developed one. May be that will help.
I guess this "adjusting" attitude is the root cause of all issues. We are expected to adjust for everything and even foreign brands take us for granted due to this.

I bought a high priced modular computer table from Howard Storage World (hsw.co.in). The items were delivered today with lots of scratches and an incompetent carpenter who couldn't even drill holes properly. They charge Rs.300 for 8 screws and expect me to accept the stuff with defects. Had to do lots of firefighting with the store manager and the delivery guys to even agree for a replacement. Would these guys dare to give similar service in other countries?

IMO it is time we stop adjusting and start doing something.
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